Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav evacuation: Sunday afternoon

Posted By on Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 9:08 PM

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JACKSON, MISS., 4 P.M. - -The view from my hotel window. See that building with the peaked dome? It's just across a couple of streets from where I'm staying. The rumor was that FEMA had set up an encampment there for the people who can't find lodging. So I grabbed my camera and pad and ID and went over there.

Wrong. Some serious state police stopped me at the gate. No FEMA camp there. I figured it was a National Guard staging area and kept going, looking for a place to eat lunch.

Stopped at a Books-A-Million to find out where I might get a good catfish plate. The nice lady there gave me a couple of suggestions, expressed sympathy for all the people who arriving from Louisiana, and we just chatted for a while.

Out of nowhere, she said: "I heard McCain is coming."

"To New Orleans?"

"No...to Jackson," she said. It just whizzed over my head until I got back to my hotel and found this story on the wires:

Likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are traveling to Mississippi on Sunday to check on people getting prepared for Hurricane Gustav.

Their trip comes just as delegates are preparing for the Republican National Convention, which begins Monday.

Aides say McCain and his wife Cindy will join Palin in traveling to Jackson, Miss., Sunday at the invitation of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour because of concerns about people threatened by the storm, which was heading into the Gulf of Mexico and menacing the same area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina three years ago. The storm could hit the United States as early as Monday afternoon.

The McCains and Palin will receive a briefing at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency — a permanent operations center monitoring hurricane response.

Great. A political photo op, right outside my hotel. Just across from the Whataburger.

Whata-ever.

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